Norwich City 1, Bristol City 2
David Cuffley Defender Gary Doherty was sent off for the second time this season as Norwich City slipped to their first defeat under new manager Bryan Gunn. Doherty's dismissal by referee Andy D'Urso after he conceded a penalty in the final minute of the first half proved to be the turning point of the afternoon.
Defender Gary Doherty was sent off for the second time this season as Norwich City slipped to their first defeat under new manager Bryan Gunn.
Doherty's dismissal by referee Andy D'Urso after he conceded a penalty in the final minute of the first half proved to be the turning point of the afternoon.
Defeat by Bristol City left the Canaries still very much in trouble at the wrong end of the Championship table.
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The Robins took the lead after 14 minutes when Cole Skuse fired home from a cross by Nicky Maynard.
City levelled 10 minutes later when Jonathan Grounds scored for the second time in three matches, knocking in the rebound after a header by Carl Cort had hit the post.
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The winner came from the penalty spot in the last minute of the first half when a poor clearance by goalkeeper David Marshall fell to Dele Adebola and he was tripped by Doherty as he closed in on goal. Doherty was shown a straight red and Bradley Orr scored from the spot.
The Canaries battled gamely with 10 men for the second half without managing to salvage a point and there was more controversy when referee D'Urso denied them a penalty 20 minutes from time when Adam Drury appeared to be shoved to the ground by Orr.
D'Urso, in charge of a controversial meeting between the two clubs last season, was booed off the pitch at the end.
City boss Gunn made just one change to the starting line-up from the 3-3 draw at leaders Wolves on Tuesday night.
Wes Hoolahan was recalled on the left side of midfield with Ryan Bertrand ruled out by the ankle injury which forced him to withdraw from England U21 duty earlier in the week.
It meant Adam Drury continued at left back and three of Gunn's loan signings, all of whom appeared in the second half at Wolves, were among the substitutes - David Carney, Alan Gow and Chris Killen. Skipper Mark Fotheringham, available after a one match ban, was also on the bench.
Bristol City manager Gary Johnson made one change to the team which beat Charlton 2-1 in midweek. Striker Nicky Maynard was back after missing two matches because of a dead leg and he replaced Slovakian international Peter Styvar.
The Robins arrived at Carrow Road in good form with five wins and a draw from their previous six games.
Before kick off, Hoolahan was presented with the player of the month award for January and there was a special welcome for last year's player of the season, Dion Dublin, who was a guest at the match.
The visitors kicked off but it was Norwich who forced the first corner, conceded by Carey in the opening minute. Clingan took the kick but it was Carey, the visiting skipper who headed clear.
A neat touch from Cort then set up Hoolahan as City pushed forward again, but his cross was too strong and drifted out for a goal kick.
As Bristol replied, Adebola got his head to a cross by Williams but his effort lacked power and Marshall gathered it easily.
With less than five minutes gone, Cort won another corner when his cross was cut out and Clingan took an out-swinging kick with Adebola heading clear, but the danger was not over for the visitors when McAllister's attempted clearance struck Croft and looped goalwards, where Cureton just failed to make contact with only keeper Basso blocking his path.
A slip by Grounds let Bristol in at the other end and when McIndoe crossed from the left, Doherty was dangerously close to diverting the ball into his own net. Instead it was a corner, from which Carey headed wide. McIndoe brought Marshall into action after eight minutes with a low left foot shot from the right hand side of the area but a deflection took the sting out of his effort and the keeper gathered it comfortably.
It had been quite a lively opening on a chilly but dry afternoon in front of another near full house at Carrow Road.
The visitors won a second corner conceded by Croft after 10 minutes and came desperately close to taking the lead when Fontaine struck the crossbar with a header from McIndoe's kick.
A neat Norwich move ended with Hoolahan and Cureton combining to play Drury into space but his cross to the far post was just out of reach of two yellow shirts.
In the 14th minute, the visitors took the lead with the simplest of goals from Skuse. Maynard made good ground down the right before pulling back a low centre for Skuse to beat Marshall with a well placed first time shot.
City were a little rattled and after Grounds conceded a free-kick, an overhead kick from Fontaine brought Marshall into action again.
Hoolahan produced a neat piece of juggling midway into the Bristol half after a cross by Otsemobor had been deflected into his path and he was only just off target with a volley from approaching 30-yards.
The Robins still looked dangerous and after Maynard had a shot blocked by Grounds, Williams sent a powerful right foot drive just past the angle of post and crossbar.
McIndoe tested Marshall again with a rising drive, but as the Canaries counterattacked, they won a free-kick on the right which led to the equaliser.
Croft was fouled and as Clingan swung in the free-kick, it took a deflection off the head of McAllister into the path of Cort, whose header struck the post but rebounded for Grounds to knock in the rebound for his second goal in three matches.
The visitors should have regained the lead within a minute but Maynard headed wide from a cross by Skuse.
Things had certainly livened up and the home crowd were angry with referee D'Urso when Cort appeared to be held by Carey in the penalty area, but he waved play on.
There was then a delay while Skuse needed treatment after taking a knock.
The referee, who was in charge of last season's controversial match between the two sides at Ashton Gate, angered the crowd again when Drury appeared to be fouled just outside the Bristol area but he gave the visitors a throw in.
With just over half an hour gone, goal scorer Skuse, still struggling after having treatment, made way for another right sided player in Sproule.
Croft's persistence earned the Canaries another corner after 33 minutes, but Clingan curled his kick out of play before it reached the six-yard box.
There were appeals for a penalty when Russell had a shot blocked by Fontaine after Hoolahan had floated a free-kick into the penalty area but only a corner was given and it was wasted.
Adebola was proving a handful and Marshall had to jump to his right to gather the striker's header as the visitors counterattacked.
The official was unpopular once again when he penalised Cureton for a foul on Johnson just outside the Bristol area when it seemed the striker had been impeded first.
As play switched to the other end, Adebola should have done better than shoot off target from a cross by Sproule, but the big forward was inches away from restoring his team's lead five minutes before the break when he rolled a shot just past the post after getting the better of Grounds.
Disaster struck for Norwich with little more than a minute of the first half left when Doherty was sent off after conceding a penalty.
The mistake came from Marshall who fired his goal kick straight to Adebola and as the powerful striker bore down on goal, Doherty brought him down and referee D'Urso immediately pointed to the spot and produced the red card.
Orr stepped up to score, right footed, from the spot.
It was a terrible blow for Norwich to be reduced to 10 men and go behind so close to the end of an encouraging half, but the visitors had always looked dangerous on the break.
t Half-time: Norwich City 1, Bristol City 2
The Canaries made a change at the interval with Fotheringham replacing Cureton and also taking the armband as captain after Doherty's departure. Clingan dropped into the defence and Fotheringham took up his usual midfield position.
In the opening minute of the half, Croft crossed from the right and Cort rose at the far post to head just wide.
Norwich threatened again when Basso failed to hold a shot from Hoolahan and Croft's centre was cut out by McIndoe at the expense of a corner. Clingan's flag kick was cleared by Carey, leading to another corner, but this time Basso jumped to gather Clingan's kick comfortably.
A determined run by Croft almost produced an opening when he burst forward and played a one-two with Cort, but the winger completely miscued his final shot, only for Orr to head clear for a corner. The kick was squandered again and as the visitors broke, Marshall had to dash out to thwart Maynard, with the home crowd angry that the striker's challenge on the City keeper may have been a shade high.
Nine minutes into the half, Drury won a corner on the overlap and Fotheringham aimed the kick towards Cort, but Fontaine got in the vital header to clear. Russell's persistence won another corner taken by Croft, which was initially cleared and when Hoolahan fed the ball back to Croft, the winger's cross was this time cut out by McIndoe.
Despite being down to 10 men, City were on top at this stage and Otsemobor set off on a run deep into visiting territory before his cross from a tight angle was cut out by Basso.
Substitute Sproule had been a lively addition to Bristol's armoury and after 59 minutes he was a whisker away from making it 3-1 with a low shot which rolled just the wrong side of the post.
Orr let fly from long range moments later, but in his case he was well off target.
Sproule won another corner when his cross deflected out off Drury. The visitors tried a short corner routine but McIndoe's cross was headed away by Grounds.
Hoolahan and Drury fashioned a promising move down the left as Norwich broke forward but as the ball reached Russell, he was unable to make a telling cross towards Cort and Carey was there to intercept.
Fotheringham brought the crowd to life after 66 minutes when his powerful left foot volley flashed wide as he latched on to a clearance by Carey from Croft's centre.
Midway into the half, a header by Croft into Hoolahan's path gave the little forward the chance to cut inside on his left foot and strike a powerful shot which Basso managed to hold at the second attempt.
With 20 minutes to go, the home crowd were incensed when City were denied a penalty as Drury appeared to be clearly barged over by Orr just inside the penalty area. Referee D'Urso, however, merely awarded a goal kick.
Another neat passing move by Norwich ended with another long range effort from Fotheringham, but this time he was well off target.
With 74 minutes gone, Cort, who had done an excellent job up front, made way for Killen, the New Zealander making his home debut.
A foul by Carey on Killen gave Norwich a free-kick midway into the Bristol half and while they waited to take it, the visitors made a change, John replacing Adebola.
Fotheringham rather wasted the free-kick but Norwich kept pressing and won a corner. Croft's kick was cleared as far as Fotheringham, but the skipper's attempt to shoot was in vain when he kicked thin air and Bristol quickly mounted a counterattack.
John got into the action for the first time with a shot just outside the penalty area but it was straight at Marshall.
Marshall saved again from Sproule as City had a nervous moment at the back. When they broke, Otsemobor played the perfect ball to Croft, but the winger's cross was a poor one with three teammates waiting in the penalty area.
With eight minutes to go, visiting manager Johnson made his third change with Iriekpen replacing the limping McAllister.
John very nearly wrapped the game up with a first time shot from Sproule's cross but Marshall produced an excellent save and, moments later, Marshall saved again from Sproule but this time the flag was up for offside.
With just over five minutes left, City boss Gunn made his final change with Gow replacing Croft.
Norwich won a corner in unorthodox fashion when Basso's attempt to clear struck Carey and rebounded behind, but Fotheringham's kick was a poor one, falling to Grounds on the edge of the area, and he was unable to make clean contact with an attempted shot.
As play switched quickly to the other end, Sproule won a corner when his shot went out off Drury.
The lively Sproule missed another chance to wrap up the game when he fired wide after a one-two with Johnson.
Russell made an outstanding tackle on Williams in the final minute just as the midfielder shaped to shoot.
With three minutes of stoppage time being played, Maynard fired into the side netting as Bristol tried to extend their lead.
t Result: Norwich City 1, Bristol City 2
t Norwich City: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Grounds, Drury, Croft, Clingan, Russell, Hoolahan, Cureton, Cort
Subs: Nelson, Killen, Carney, Fotheringham, Gow
t Bristol City: Basso, Orr, Fontaine, Carey, McAllister, Johnson, Skuse, Williams, McIndoe, Maynard, Adebola
Subs: Henderson, Styvar, Sproule, John, Iriekpen
t Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)
t MoM: Carl Cort
t Attendance: 24,691